What I’m Reading: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Young Adult Book Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling is one of those books I heard a lot about for a long time before I finally decided to pick it up. Graceling is the story of Katsa, a fun, fearless, kick-butt female hero who reminded me a lot of Aelin from Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass Series. Published in 2008, Graceling came well before Throne of Glass, but came in the same year as The Hunger Games and the now very well known Katniss Everdeen.

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Since I was a child, female hero’s have definitely become stronger, more independent, and just as deadly as any male counterpart. And I love this. Graceling is very much a classically written epic fantasy, with slow moving, but beautiful passages of description, and less dialogue. There are good guys and bad guys and of course a few love interests.

I really enjoyed Graceling, though I felt this book had a good ending, and though there are two more books in the Graceling Realm Series, I don’t feel pressed to pick them up, as the books are about other characters. Sometimes I like this, and other times I fine with one book being just one book.

A solid 4/5 Stars.

JEH

What I’m Reading: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Young/New Adult Book Review: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Either Young Adult books are becoming more and more edgy, or there really needs to be a new category of book. I vote for the later. There has always been edgy fiction, but these days there is a certain class of fiction that has young adult characters, is shelved as young adult, but has very adult themes. Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios is one of those books. Exquisite Captive is a paranormal fantasy that follows Nalia, a Jinn, on her quest for freedom from her captor.

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I listened to this book as an audiobook on a solo road trip last month. I really enjoyed it, but looking at the other reviews out there, at lot of people did not. Their main pet peeve seemed to be the somewhat abusive relationship in the book. Now, in my opinion, and abusive relationship is not a reason to put down at book (unless you’re a really sensitive reader, I’m not). How that relationship is treated may or may not be. As I don’t believe the relationship is glorified in any way, I didn’t find it a reason to stop listening. I liked the book, so I kept going.

For fans of darker young adult fiction (the stuff that is often called New Adult), such as Sarah J. Maas or Laini Taylor, Exquisite Captive may be for you. Of course, there were somethings I didn’t love about the book, like how it things just kept not working out. I mean sure, it’s fiction, that happens, but it was almost like that happened one time too many.

Still, it was a pretty decent book. Exquisite Captive is the first book in a trilogy, the third book of which was release in February this year. Which is great, since sometimes I just hate having to wait for all of the books to be released.

JEH

Under Jupiter is Now in The Kindle Store

So I’ve been incredibly busy with life and getting ready for the Under Jupiter release! The good news is that Under Jupiter has finally made it up onto the Kindle store! But the BEST news is that UJ is FREE on June 20th and 21st! If you love Young Adult books, then make sure to grab your copy while you can. And please consider leaving a review when you’re finished! Click HERE to go to Amazon and download now!

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Hurrah!

JEH

What I’m Reading: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Young Adult Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer had such a fetching cover that I just had to pick it up. The image actually has a striking resemblance to the Twilight Cover, in my opinion, with the same colour palette and the bright red right in the middle. But what does that matter? What I really wanted was to read a Cinderella story set in the future.

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Cinder was probably the most refreshing fairy tale retelling I’ve read in a while. It was still recognizable as the Cinderella story, but it wasn’t weighed down with backstory I didn’t need (like some retelling’s I’ve read in the past year). The funnest part, I thought, was that instead of a glass slipper, Cinder is constantly struggling with her cyber foot, which no longer fits her. I was also very interested in the Lunars, and will read the other books in the chronicles just to find out about them. The other books, however, don’t feature Cinder as a main character, and I’m kind of glad about that, since I feel like Cinder(ella)’s story has come to an end.

4/5 Stars

JEH

A Brief Review of the Kindle Scout Program

If you’ve been following along on my self-publishing journey of my latest novel, Under Jupiter, then you already know that I submitted it to Kindle Scout. Well, the news is in and Under Jupiter was not selected for publication by Kindle Press. In all honesty, I didn’t expect it to be. Why? Because during my 30-day campaign and scout participation, I came to a firm conclusion on one thing: Kindle Press prefers highly popular fiction. And guess what, a teen novel about colonizing the solar system is not popular fiction.

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Overall, I had a good Scout experience. It was fun and addicting to follow along with my daily page views, and I liked seeing my book at the top of the Hot and Trending list. Also, I nominated books like mad during my 30 day sprint, since I was on the website anyway, and I ‘won’ three new e-books, which should be released sometime in the near future. I found Kindle Scout to be a fun website as a reader, since it takes no time at all to scan and nominate your favorite proposed titles.

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As a writer, I found Kindle Scout to be slightly beneficial to my exposure. My books had slightly more downloads while my latest work was up on Kindle Scout (which I think is partially due to more readers who don’t know me seeing my name). I’m planning to release Under Jupiter this weekend, at which time Kindle Scout will send an email out those people who nominated my book and let them know it is for sale. I’ll post an update after I’ve done this to say whether or not I get a sales boost from that feature.

As for what’s next, I’m working away on The Torc. Would I submit it to the Kindle Scout website? Probably not, because I felt Kindle Scout mostly just added a bit of a delay to my release schedule, and I’m too excited to share The Torc with the world.

What do you think? Do you like reviewing book previews on Kindle Scout?

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Young Adult Book Review: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

First off, I’m going to be honest and specify that I listened to this book on audiobook. But I loved it so much I went out an bought a hardcover copy after I finished. It isn’t often I rave about a book and say that everyone should read it, but I will with this one. The Girl Who Drank The Moon should be on everyone’s reading list, and I do mean everyone, young, old, and those in the middle.

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The Girl Who Drank The Moon is about a mottled assortment of characters (also young, old, and in between), in a fantastical world full of sorrow and magic. The book centers on the character’s inward journey’s and their interactions.

When I went to pick up my hard copy at the bookstore, i found this book shelved in Young Readers (9-12), which I think was a mistake on part of the publisher. I think this is really an all ages tale. It is beautifully written, poetic, and well themed. While there are children in the book, a lot of the story is told from Xan’s point of view, and Xan being an ancient witch, I wasn’t sure the book would have captured my attention as a young child, though Luna, also a protagonist, is 12 at the end of the story.

In all honesty, this book is hard to categorize. But that really doesn’t matter, because it is just a beautiful book. I heard about it from a woman in my writing group who raved about it, and I will say that she was definitely not wrong. If you haven’t hard about The Girl Who Drank The Moon, you should have, and if you haven’t read it yet, you should start. Now.

5/5 Stars

JEH

The New Thing I’m Working On: The Torc Progress #1

Alright, I always tell myself that I will blog more about my works in progress, but then I don’t. Well, today I’m changing that. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working hard on a new project, which I’m calling The Torc at the moment, but that might change.So far, the project is going fantastic! I haven’t been this enthusiastic about a new world and new characters in a long time. So it feels really good to be working on something I’m passionate about.

I’m so excited about this project that I even sketched the cover, sent my horrible drawing to my favorite artist, and commissioned the cover, even though I’m not done the draft! I love that I’m getting the art done early. The¬†weekly previews serve to inspire my writing. Here’s your preview of the concept (please forgive my horrible drawing).

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So this project, The Torc, is going to be at least a three book arc, but it may be more. I’m not sure yet. I do have the first three books outlined. I’m so excited that I know I could finish drafting them all in a month if I didn’t have a day job (unfortunately, I do, which means it will likely take me the rest of the year to finish the drafts. Ah well, at least I’m loving the process!

JEH